BAE Systems Maritime Australia has signed contracts with three more businesses in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia that will deliver products into the prototyping phase of the Hunter-class frigate program that will deliver a new generation of warships to the Royal Australian Navy.
The three companies selected will supply a range of manufactured parts for prototyping blocks now under construction at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide. The Hunter frigate program will deliver nine warships to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
Work underway on prototyping blocks is enabling systems, tools, plant, workforce and supplier products to be tested, evaluated and refined, providing a solid operational foundation prior to the commencement of production on the first Hunter class frigate.
The companies awarded contracts are Defence Seals & Spares, who will supply manhole and access panel gaskets from its Warriewood operations, north of Sydney; ABECK Group, who will manufacture/supply flowforge gratings from its Dandenong facility; while PRP Manufacturing will supply/cut gaskets at its Dudley Park plant in Adelaide.
“Establishing a competitive, sustainable and resillient supply chain in Australia is critical to the overall success of the Hunter-class frigate program,” Craig Lockhart, managing director, BAE Systems Maritime Australia, said.
“Each of these three companies bring a unique and important skillset to the construction of frigates in Australia, helping to deliver the best capability to the navy.”
The Hunter-class program entered the prototyping phase in December last year with a steel-cutting ceremony at BAE Systems’ Osborne shipyard in South Australia. At this stage, BAE Systems Maritime Australia will build five prototype blocks to test the production systems, develop the facilities and ensure the workforce is trained to build the Hunter-class frigates.
The prototyping phase of the program will run for three years until 2023. The construction phase is scheduled to start by the end of 2022. Delivery of the first ship has already experienced a two-year delay and is now scheduled for 2031.